Thoughts on the State of American Vacations – 2015

Allianz Insurance recently posted the results of their annual vacation confidence index, which takes a survey of American’s attitude towards vacationing and travel. The results of this year’s survey are rather eye opening.

  • Only 51% of Americans are confident they’ll take a vacation in 2015. Factoring in a margin for error, that is only about half of Americans who will bother to take time off this year. Much less than what you will find in most countries.
  • 57% say that taking an annual vacation is important. Again, almost 40% of Americans don’t even think it is important, which is telling, and probably explains why so many vacations days are never used in the US.
  • 19% of Americans who say that taking a vacation is important are not confident they will take one in 2015. This gap is what they call the vacation deficit. The gap between those who want to go on vacation, but don’t.
  • 56% of Americans haven’t been on vacation in over a year. Again, this just adds fuel to the fire that Americans just don’t go on vacation as much as people in other developed countries.
  • Of American who are confident they will go on vacation, spending is down from $1,895 to $1,621. A drop of 14.5%. Travel is very dependent on the state of the economy. It is reasonable to assume that the decrease in travel and the decrease in travel spending is due to economic reasons.

The data confirms much of what has been said about Americans and traveling. We don’t travel that much, we don’t take time off, and we don’t use the vacation days we have.

The survey also went into detail about the sharing economy. They found:

  • Four in ten (35%) are familiar (15% very/20% somewhat) with uber, while 64% are not (56% not at all/8% not very)
  • Two in ten (19%) are familiar (7% very/12% somewhat) with Air BnB, while eight in ten (79%) are not (71% not at all/8% not very)
  • Two in ten (15%) are familiar (6% very/9% somewhat) with Lyft, while eight in ten (84%) are not (77% not at all/7% not very)
  • One in ten (10%) is familiar (4% very/7% somewhat) with HomeAway, while most (88%) are not (79% not at all/9% not very)
  • One in ten (7%) is familiar (3% very/4% somewhat) with GetAround, while most (91%) are not (86% not at all/6% not very)
  • Four percent (4%) are familiar (1% very/3% somewhat) with Feastly, while most (94%) are not (88% very/7% not very)

Honestly, I haven’t heard of the last 2 companies on the list, so I don’t find that data shocking. However, Uber and AirBnB have gotten quite a bit of media attention, and I was rather shocked that their awareness is only 35% and 19% respectively. I would have guessed a number at least over 50% for both of them. They both are regularly mentioned on the news and late night talk shows. This also only measures familiarity, not adoption, so those numbers are probably even smaller. It means that both companies still have a great deal of room for growth, even though they are both the dominant players in their markets.

What is not surprising is what they found about how age affects perceptions of sharing services. Despite relatively low awareness of many of these services among the general population, four in ten (44%) Americans find them to be trustworthy (6% very/38% somewhat), compared to 35% who think they’re not trustworthy (24% not at all/10% not very). Two in ten (21%) don’t know if they trust these services or not. However, a majority (60%) of young adults aged 18 to 34 trust these services, as do those with a household income over $75,000 (58% trust).